Port Alberni’s community policing office at Harbour Quay was closed down in 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni’s community policing office at Harbour Quay was closed down in 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

City of Port Alberni plans to open ‘public safety building’ in Uptown area

City staff still looking for ‘suitable location’

The City of Port Alberni announced on Friday, Sept. 20 that it plans to open a “public safety building” in the Uptown area.

In council’s 2019-2023 strategic plan, one of the city’s key strategies was “exploring non-policing strategies to reduce crime and crime rate statistics” with the development of a public safety building in the Uptown area, where the city’s bylaw services department and community policing services will be located.

READ MORE: Port Alberni’s city council reveals 2019-2023 strategic plan

Now city staff has announced that they will be searching for a suitable location in the Uptown area for this building in the coming months.

“The importance of community policing and bylaw services has been increasing as communities across Canada face ongoing challenges related to crime, addiction and mental health,” said Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions in a press release. “As a council, we are constantly seeking creative and effective ways to promote public safety, reduce crime and improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

The new public safety office will be managed by Gaylene Thorogood, who currently holds the position of Manager of Police Support Services. In her current capacity, Thorogood oversees city employees who work in support of the RCMP detachment.

READ MORE: Port Alberni hires new manager of police support services

“The implementation of a public safety building drives the need for a leader who can support, direct and coordinate both bylaw services and community policing,” said City CAO Tim Pley in a press release. “Gaylene Thorogood is that leader. With the creation of the new public safety building, the current vacancy in the bylaw services’ management position and Gaylene’s unique skillsets in protective services, we saw the opportunity to introduce a new approach to crime prevention and public safety in Port Alberni.”

In this new, multi-faceted approach, said Minions, city staff will coordinate and support other agencies and programs while working with RCMP on community policing initiatives.